Kalsaria’s ‘sadbhavana’ to take on Modi’s this election

Rebel BJP MLA's Sadbhavana Manch eyes five coastal seats in Bhavnagar, Amreli districts

Come September 17 and Chief Minister Narendra Modi's Sadbhavana Mission, under which he held as a series of one-day fasts across the state for six months, will complete a year. However, for the last 27 years, the word sadbhavana has been associated with Dr Kanu Kalsaria, BJP's Mahuva MLA who had successfully led a farmers agitation against a proposed Nirma cement plant by turning against his own government.

And later this year when Gujarat goes to polls, this nearly three-decade-old 'sadbhavana' will take on Modi's year-old 'sadbhavana' in five coastal Assembly constituencies in Bhavnagar and Amreli districts.

The association of this surgeon with 'sadbhavana' dates back to 1985 when he launched Sadbhavna Trust to run a charity hospital in the coastal town of Mahuva.

Thirteen years later, he earned a BJP ticket and made his Assembly debut by defeating former Congress chief minister Chabildas Mehta in his hometown of Mahuva. The BJP repeated him in the past two elections on the same seat.

But now, Dr Kalsaria is set to take on the ruling by contesting the coming elections under the banner of Sadbhavana Manch.

"Sadbhavana is an act of greater good. Publicity or speeches does not translate into sadbhavana," said Dr Kalsaria, adding, "What has been done in the name of sadbhavana by Modi can be called nothing but show-off."

Sadbhavana Manch's first electoral victory came in the Mahuva taluka panchayat elections, which they captured by fielding farmers and forging an alliance with the Congress.

But for the Assembly elections, the Manch will go ahead without any pre-poll alliances. "We will be contesting Mahuva, Talaja (both in Bhavnagar district), Rajula, Gariyadhar and Savarkundla (all in Amreli district) seats," he said.

This means Dr Kalsaria will not only be contesting against the BJP and Congress, but also against the newly floated Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP). Till recently, the MLA was seen campaigning against the Modi government with GPP president and former CM Keshubhai Patel. His appearances at the group's rallies ceased only after Patel formed GPP in August.

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